Grounds crew guidelines
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

Jan. 22, 2004

From: The Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball

To: Bullpen and grounds crew workers at Shea Stadium and the Ballpark in Arlington

Re: Recent free-agent signings of Karim Garcia and Jeff Nelson

Karim Garcia
Karim Garcia is still on the loose in New York.
The following directive is meant to head off possible problems and outline proper procedures for bullpen and grounds crew workers when dealing with newly acquired New York Mets outfielder Karim Garcia and Texas Rangers reliever Jeff Nelson.

1. At no time should workers attempt to antagonize the previously mentioned players by waving towels, pennants or big foam puffy hands while within a 10-foot radius, nor by shouting derogatory comments about their teams or their mothers. Workers must also be careful not to stare directly into the players' eyes, as this will be perceived as a sign of aggression.

2. Arlington Stadium workers are advised that they will need to frequently re-sod the bullpen throughout the summer to compensate for destruction of grass caused by Nelson "marking his territory.''

3. If workers find themselves in a potentially violent situation with a player, their best response is to remain calm, stand as tall as possible to establish social dominance and back away slowly. Do not turn your back on the player at any time. Note: Some workers have found that these players can be distracted by bright lights and shiny objects.

4. The players association prohibits strip searches, but bullpen metal detectors are allowed and recommended. Umpires will also check for emery boards, sandpaper and brass knuckles.

5. While defensive barriers are suggested for Shea Stadium, workers are reminded that warning tracks are to remain warning tracks. They should not be transformed into moats. Warning tracks may not exceed depths of 1.5 inches below the outfield dirt, nor may they be filled with water, nor stocked with piranhas, sharks, barracudas, alligators, crocodiles, water moccasins, moray eels, box jellyfish, giant squid, tuna with toxic levels of mercury, farm-raised salmon or any other life-threatening aquatic creatures.

Paul Williams
If groundskeeper Paul Williams was a Blue Belt, he wouldn't have gotten the Full Nelson.
6. All Shea and Arlington workers must be fully certified in first aid and reach at least the Blue Belt level in martial arts.

7. Individual workers at Shea Stadium should not need additional weapons beyond the tire irons, knives and broken beer bottles that are standard issue for all New York stadium workers. Handguns are allowed under Texas law, but they must be displayed in a holster. Whips may be used in either stadium, but they are not generally considered effective means of control. (See attached pages on Roy Horn.)

8. Be advised. In addition to sprinklers and hoses normally used for maintenance of the grass, water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets may be required for quelling disturbances, particularly when the Yankees are in town. Leave room in the budget for the purchase of same.

9. To maintain a proper sense of routine for the two players, daily feedings should be at a consistent time, such as during batting practice or at sundown. Note: Never attempt to remove food from the player while he is feeding.

10. As always: No pepper spray.

Enjoy the season. And be careful out there.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com





GROUND WORK

ALSO SEE:


Jim Caple Archive

Caple: The "Frasier" finale

Caple: Golden moments

Caple: Rose rage

Jim Caple's 2003 Sports Quiz

Caple: The year that wasn't

The List: Best lists of 2003





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